The Eagles' Zach Ertz said Thursday that he hears this is the best tight end class since his 2013 group hit the NFL draft. Ertz, a second-round pick (35th overall), was the second player drafted out of that group, behind Tyler Eifert, who went to Cincinnati, 21st overall in the first round. Kansas City took Travis Kelce in the third, which was also where Washington got Jordan Reed.
With the Eagles drafting 14th overall this year, it's conceivable that the guy generally ranked atop that strong tight end class, Alabama's O.J. Howard, just might be the best player available when the Birds' turn arrives. Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas reiterated their "best player available" strategy Thursday. The Eagles already have three tight ends they like; it might be the deepest position on the team. So, what if...
Ertz noted that we don't really know there is no room in the tight end room -- Trey Burton, $2.746 million restricted free agent tender and all, is signed just for this year, and Brent Celek is 32, having just accepted a pay cut. Only Ertz, signed in 2016 for five years and $42.5 million last year, represents a strong investment.
"When you're drafting that high in the draft, you've got to add impact players," Ertz said. "Whether it be a defensive player or an offensive player, we trust Howie and Joe ... Obviously I've heard amazing things about (Howard)."
Speaking of impact players, Ertz went to Stanford, which is sending verstile running back Christian McCaffrey into the draft this year. McCaffrey also is a possibility for the Eagles at 14.
"The guy's a stud," Ertz said. "I think he came in the year (after) I left. Talking to some of the younger guys that I still communicated with at the time, asking how the team was going to be (in 2014), they said, 'I think we're going to be pretty good, but there's this freshman you've got to keep your eye on.' Even coaches, I would talk to them (and hear the same thing) ... you go back there, and they say this guy is one of the hardest workers they've ever had in the program. His production is obviously off the charts. He should have won the Heisman two years ago.
"Wherever he's going to get drafted in the NFL, I think he's going to be successful, just because he's so versatile. His overall game, whether it be the return game, on offense you can move him all over the place, we kind of joke around back in San Diego (where Ertz and Darren Sproles work out) that he's kind of Darren Sproles 2.0, just a little taller. He's so explosive, he's a great player and a great person as well."